Maternity Leave Laws F&#* S!€%!!! Gaaaaahhh!!

I don’t live in the US, but I still find this incredibly frustrating! As the (currently) most powerful country in the world, shouldn’t you be setting a much better example? Much of the world still needs fairer parental leave laws which are harder to justify and demand when the US is famously lagging so far behind. A lot of developing nations do look at the US as an example to follow in many aspects. Get your act together please!

It’s things like this that have had a lot of us women (myself included) worried about “leaning in” in the world of work, because when the time comes, will we have any support? Will we even have the time to enjoy raising our own families? Or would we just have to pay someone else to do that?

Another thing: I do not call it maternity leave. That puts a lot of unfair pressure on women who may lose out on opportunities because an employer may not want to hire a woman who could, at any moment, “run away for a year to have children”. I actually read about an employer saying this when discussing why not as many women are hired for high level positions (read Darling, You Can’t Do Both: And Other Noise To Ignore on Your Way Up, AMAZING book!) It also does not favour families where the woman may actually be the main bread winner or have the more demanding job.

Call it parental leave, and do like some central European countries where a very decent amount of time (say… one year) is allocated to a couple to split between themselves as they see fit! Yes, there are cultural norms and yes, the majority of families may swing one way, but leave room for change. Leave room for flexibility because not everyone is the same. Our societies are shifting and those in power need to catch up!

Time to be Cheerful Again

In Preparation

In Preparation

It’s been a while – and I realise the year has almost finished and I have only written TWO full blog posts!

Well what can I say? 2014 has been so incredibly up and so incredibly down. I will say that this is the year that I turned 25, and then turned 30. About 5 years of aging… seems about right? Hopefully it was only mental – having a 54 year old mother who is frequently mistaken for 34 means pressure – I have some very youthful shoes to fill (sexy strappy sandals with a 5″ heel, to be precise). And the only things she credits are: sun block, excercise, and plenty of fruits and vegetables! Thanks Mum. :P

A’s due date is fast approaching. We named her. It is a beautiful name and I will tell you that it begins with the letter A. I worried that I would be falling apart this month but really – I have reached a space. Memories of my pregnancy are filled with joy, so I feel joy when I remember. Memories of my miscarriage and the months following are filled with pain, so I feel pain when remembering. I can feel both emotions fully and completely and still continue to feel and experience what is present, whatever that is. Thoughts of the future… well I have so many scenarios in my head with so many different emotions.

I take care of my health more. I’m more paranoid about pills, herbs and meds. I was never a big drinker of caffeine or alcohol but I have cut down even more now. And I feel kinda weird around 2nd hand smoke – like – the Crazy in me starts to yell out “GETAWAYFROMMEYOUAREKILLINGMYOVARIES” even though my logical brain knows that 2nd hand smoke exposure has been found to be dangerous during pregnancy when experienced daily, I think the number was about 4 packs of 2nd hand smoke a day?? YES I have checked the facts. A couple hours outdoors, around smokers, one day a week, is not going to hurt me or any unborn babies – according to the research.

But generally speaking, I am more paranoid about my health. I spent 25 years with a strong sense of trust in my own body and that suffered a major blow. I question EVERYTHING.

The miscarriage and the months following were the hardest in my life so far. I got a crash course in emotional management. That is: cry 1 hour before work – go to work and go HAM – go home and cry for another hour… or however long I need to for the evening. I actually allocated slots of time for myself to just cry non-stop… I had no idea I had that much control in me but it’s what I had to do, so I did it. Eventually, that daily schedule turned into an every-other-day schedule. Now its more like an evening once or twice a week. There were some adjustments along the road as well. Eventually I had to toughen up for my husband who was also suffering but differently. I’m not saying anything very new here but it should be said nonetheless: two different people in a relationship will react to everything differently. Relationships survive when you understand this fact and do not try to fight it. The emotional consequence of losing a baby can be equally as painful for men as it is for women. Because of our macho culture, men can feel very caught off guard to be feeling such pain after a miscarriage (not that we aren’t caught off guard, it’s just that the emotional pain is a little more expected of us), but for many men it is still there nonetheless. They may not all show it the same ways we do, but it’s still there and it still hurts.

To say work was crazy when I went back after my week off is an understatement! Whether this is coincidence or not – I have no idea. But professionally, I have grown a LOT. Once again – out of necessity, being thrown into the deep end and all. My boss resigned days before I found out I was pregnant and for the next couple months it was all easy and quiet despite being the only employee in my department. Then, somehow, I came back and major presentations and deadlines just APPEARED! I worked a tonne of extra hours that first month in order to take part in my first ever presentation as a professional. I’ve been going to fancy meetings, taking control of several projects… I have crossed several milestones in just 6 months… and I am very impressed with myself. I can even say the same for my husband experiencing the same thing! All this acheived while sorting through so much pain. I actually felt like I was losing my mind through all of this and that is not an exaggeration. Seriously considered going to therapy, however that would have meant taking more time off work as NO ONE makes appointments past 4pm. Plus, that sh*t is EXPENSIVE. Husband and I decided to tough it out with friends and family. Whether we would have benefited from therapy, I don’t know, but we have survived.

The reason why I have named this post “Time to be Cheerful Again” is because finally, I feel like my husband and I are in sync again. I feel so loving towards him and I feel so loved by him. After months of distance between us when neither of us felt much of these things towards each other, I feel so blessed to be back here again. We are not perfect, we never will be, but we work and we are in love again.

My parents and brother are coming to visit in 5 days and I cannot wait. I have missed them more than ever, I just wish my sister was coming too but she has a dissertation to write :P so I understand completely, having been there before!

Praying for health and love through the next step.

A’s Mother.

Being Proud of Your Faith

Over a year ago… Probably around March 2012, I had a friend and her sister in my apartment. The older sister noticed all of the religious decorations that my now Mother In Law had left with us. There was a crucifix, a painting of Jesus, and a few others. This is new to me, but I loved and appreciated the gifts anyway as it really can’t hurt to have pictures of Jesus and Mary in your apartment (going to the kitchen in the middle of the night after reading a scary story feels much safer!!).

Anyway, the older sis noticed all of this and proceeded to question me about my faith. She really wanted me to say that I’m only Catholic because I want to marry my boyfriend. She also talked about how her boyfriend was Catholic growing up, but then his whole family left the church because of the child molestation scandals in the Vatican.

I affirmed that following the faith and the Bible is not the same as following the Vatican, and that although my then boyfriend and his family did teach me a lot and they are very happy about my decision, I was not becoming a superficial Catholic just so that I could marry him. They are not so close minded and I am not that shallow.

She was not convinced.

She then stated “but it is easier, isn’t it?”

I looked away and said “mmhmm.”

Because, duh, it IS easier in one aspect, but it is in no way easier on ME or MY side of the family and is in no way a reason for me to change my religion.

I suck at confrontation. I knew nothing would change her opinion, she only wanted to hear what she wanted, so I gave it to her.

This stuck with me for a good while after because I wish I had something that was somehow more convincing to say. Some of the history of the Vatican is incredibly disgusting and shameful but that didn’t deter me from becoming a Catholic, I just couldn’t find a convincing enough reason to explain why.

Anyway, life went on. I had my Lent experience and later left work and prepared for my move back to the Caribbean.  So much stuff happened but that conversation did stick with me and every now and then I would think about it.

I had spent a week in Egypt that summer as it would be my last time there before my family returned to the UK. I had plenty of time to reflect on how blessed I was to have spent so much time there over the past 6 years while it was still stable-ish. I thought about all of the people there fighting against an oppressive and corrupt government so that they could continue to live eventually in peace in a country that they love. So many people who can say that they are so proud to be Egyptian, but contain a deep desire to change their government that in many instances only works against them.

The same could be said for almost anyone. You could ask a British person “Are you proud to be British?” And the answer would most likely be “Yes!” But then you could ask “Are you proud of David Cameron?” And the answer could very easily (especially in my case) be an emphatic “NO!”

Being British is not the same thing as being a supporter of David Cameron!! No no no! Being American is not the same thing as being a supporter of Bush, Clinton or Obama! It is very easy to be one and not the other.

So why is it that some people must think that if you are proud to be a Catholic then you must also be proud of the Vatican and all of its history? Not true!! Nope nope nope! I do not support any of that scandal, I am disgusted by it.

I hope and pray that those involved in those scandals are brought to justice and dealt with by God. I also hope and pray that Pope Francis can continue to do everything he can to reform the Vatican and spread to the world what the real and true message of Christ is.

You can be proud of your nationality, history and culture without being proud of your government.

You can be proud of being a Catholic without being proud of the Vatican.

I think it is that simple.

God Bless!!

Mrs. :-)

P.S. That said, I am really liking Pope Francis so far!! I hope he continues to do a lot of good representing the Catholic faith just as it should be!

Things I Want To Do With My Life

Door... Oh symbolism!!

Door… Oh symbolism!!

Trying to organise my thoughts and life plan here… So many ideas but there’s this whole time/money thing that I have to figure out.

So here are the parameters that I have to work within:-

I am 24 years old and basically would love to do MOST of this before I am 30…

Please don’t ask me about money… We could talk about that another time!

Here goes…

1. There was something here but I am now leaving it blank… Too personal even for an anonymous blog! Meh :-p

2. A good few trips around this country so that I can photograph all the beautiful, strange, dark, and unique things there are to see.

3. A good walk around all the parts of London that I SHOULD HAVE photographed while I lived there, but hey you don’t ever realise what you’ve got til it’s gone! Specifically, Hammersmith, West Kensington, Camden and Fulham. All of those areas have a special place in my heart. Oh yea and Shepherds Bush! Yep I said it. I WANT TO photograph random normal places (said with the exception of Camden which is known universally amongst Londoners as a little quirky/strange)

4. I want to take my husband to my hometown in Scotland so he can see where I spent the first 11 years of my life. It really is beautiful.

5. I also want to take my husband to Singapore and Malaysia to meet more of my family.I have gone there for at least a month every 2-3 years my entire life so even if I’ve never actually lived there it is still a big part of me.

6. Australia… Cos husbands friend travelled all the way from Australia to watch us get married and its only fair we return the love!

7. So just combining numbers 2-5…. Basically one huge mega trip because it doesn’t make sense to travel all the way to Australia without making a few stops on the way!!

8. Buy a car

9. Buy a house… Combining incomes, not wanting to waste another penny on rent.

10. Decorate said house… gradually while spending as little money as possible! Might be kinda hard to do with all this other stuff on the list…Hmm… Just a distant dream this one!

11. a) Get an MA in Construction Management or become a fully qualified archieeaAAaasjfmcndkakrncnglll!!!!

OR

11. b)  SCREW COMBINED INCOMES and become a blissfully happy and hardworking housewife!!!

Ugh…. This list is giving me a HEADACHE!!

What world am I living in? Seriously!!

Why can’t I just be a Disney Princess????

Making Decisions Is Impossible

Hmm… I can relate. Yes I did make ONE big humongous decision recently a.k.a. MARRIAGE but in other areas of my life (work life, social life etc…) this is how I often feel and I am now on my way to 25! Bleh. This world has so many uncertainties and only a few constants. I hold on to and cherish my constants!

Thought Catalog

This week in my creative writing class, my professor mentioned that he had recently read The Poetics of Music, a work by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. In it, Stravinsky mentions how, when composing a piece of music, he was sometimes utterly paralyzed by the “infinite possibilities” at his disposal. Every choice he made — each carefully placed note, chord, and phrase — could affect the composition as a whole.

Like Stravinsky, I am also sometimes utterly paralyzed by the infinite possibilities before me — though my particular paralysis is more existential than artistic. As college students on the brink of our twenties, we are led to believe that our four years represent the blissful purgatory between adolescence and — shudder — adulthood. During this time, we are free from serious responsibility; for the most part, our parents and professors still coddle us.

However, the decisions we make during college…

View original post 546 more words

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem

Wishing all Muslims a peaceful and faithful Ramadan.

I’m a little afraid to write this post cos it’s a hot topic in the world today :s

But this blog doesn’t get much traffic anyway so maybe I am safe?

As I think I mentioned in this post one half of my family is Muslim. Therefore I grew up celebrating both traditions, however whenever someone asked me what religion I was I used to say that I am a Muslim. This was until I started university when for a while I would say that I am “undecided” and then eventually became a practicing baptised Catholic :)

One thing I LOVE about the Catholic faith is this:

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”332

Everyone is searching for God.

We are not perfect human beings and on top of that we are all different.

I don’t think God would close himself off from people just because their circumstances led them to a different religion.

The truth is that most people are taught only one religion and that will be which ever religion their parents follow. Also, if someone does want to decide it can be quite difficult when EVERY religion claims to be the one true path to salvation!

I find too many people have such an exclusive view on religion and I don’t like it. And everyone always emphasises that “we ALL have to make a choice!”  and that is why there is no sympathy. Yes it is true that everyone has to make a choice. But making a choice to break a family tradition or even face ostracism from either your family, community or country based on a change in your belief, is not nearly the same thing as making a choice to stick with the religion and traditions that you and many generations of your family have safely and happily grown up with. That applies to all religions.

So to all Muslims, have a wonderful Ramadan. I am definitely looking forward to Eid as it just so happens to be on the same day as the Rehearsal Dinner!! AAAAAAAHH!! Can’t wait to see my family and friends!!! :D

Lots of Love

Engaged Lady

Update / Forms of Prayer

OMG I’m getting married in almost ONE MONTH!!

This year went by incredibly fast!

I have been so busy.

I have been hiding from the internet.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

My faith, along with many other things tends to progress in hills and valleys, meaning: sometimes my faith is strong, sometimes it is weak, sometimes I take God for granted. Seeing those last few words on paper just seem so harsh. I don’t like it.

I’m not like some people who’s faith is so ingrained in them that it just seems to come so naturally, that missing church on New Years Eve or on a random Sunday would be unthinkable. Sometimes I have to remind myself to pray and some times it. just. doesn’t. happen. For whatever reason, I could be distracted, I could have nothing to say. Most of the time distracted.

Anyway, I was very happy this weekend because 1. I went to church. 2. It’s time to choose readings for the wedding :)

Reading seems to help me more than anything when it comes to prayer. It just focuses my mind and it motivates me. It gives me different topics to think about and dwell on. I feel/hope that on the days when I don’t manage to lie down and focus on just silent prayer, that my reading and the thoughts sparked by reading are heard by God.

On top of this, I am very thankful when people are willing and eager to talk about faith. You could be Christian, Atheist, Muslim, whatever. We don’t have to agree on everything or even on most things, but I am just happy that these kinds of discussions keep my mind on or around God and that hopefully I am doing the same for you too!

Anyway, time to go and prepare for tomorrow. Tonight that means sleep and pray!

Goodnight and sweet dreams :)

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